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Month: June 2016

Moving Beyond Cookie Cutter Labs

Overview

Adrian Deakin is the Science Program Area Leader and a Chemistry Teacher at Shaftesbury High School in Winnipeg. Adrian has been using PASCO equipment with his science students since 2000. Over the years he has incorporated datalogging into his science lessons and has also hosted working sessions at the local STAM conference to help familiarize other teachers with PASCO probeware.

Investigation

“I use PASCO colorimeters along with SPARK units when I am teaching my grade 11 chemistry students how to dilute solutions,” says Adrian. “We first make a kool-aid solution of known concentration and then we dilute the solution to a second known concentration and analyze it for transmittance. After converting transmittance values to absorbance we compare the absorbance readings to the proportionate change in concentration after dilution. Another grade 11 lab is the calculation of the average rates of evaporation of volatile Liquids, namely acetone, ethanol, and methanol. Students are able to monitor the temperature changes as part of the experiment. A higher level lab that I have done using colorimeters is the calculation of the percent copper in brass. Brass shell casings are dissolved in nitric acid making a solution of copper (II) ions which is tested for absorbance against a series of standard solutions. I also have students determine the concentration of ammonia in household ammonia solution via titration with hydrochloric acid. They use pH probes to monitor the pH of the solution every 1 mL upon the addition of HCl and generate a curve of pH versus volume of titrant.”

Outcome

“In the first lab, the students observe that there is a linear relationship between concentration and absorbance for coloured solutions. They also learn that transmittance values change when examined with different colours (wavelengths). Although we don’t go into further calculations, the students learn that this relationship is called Beer’s Law. In our second lab, as long as students are careful, graphs turn our very well and they can calculate the slope of the line as the substance is evaporating. It is an excellent way to introduce students to types of intermolecular forces, phase changes, and the difference between endothermic and exothermic reactions. In the advanced lab, the concentration of copper ions is used to determine the mass of copper in the sample and the percent copper is calculated by comparing the experimentally determined mass to the mass of the shell casing. These values can then be compared to typical percent composition values of brass.” These are no old-school labs!

PASCO Products

  • Sparkvue Software PS-2400
  • Airlink PS-3200
  • Colorimeter PS-2121
  • pH Sensor PS-2400
  • Temperature Sensor PS-3201
  • Motion Sensor PS-2103A

A Middle School STEM Challenge

Overview

Located south of the Assiniboine on the western edge of the city of Winnipeg, River West Park Middle school is part of the Pembina Trails School Division and serves students in kindergarten through to grade 9. River West Park’s program aims to challenge children academically, guided by Manitoba’s provincial curriculum standards. Todd Johnson is a science teacher at River West Park Middle School, and is integrating a STEM component into his grade 8 science class through a water quality engineering design challenge.

Investigation

“My students are conducting water quality project right now where they have been tasked to design a water filter. We will then compare which group’s filter does the best job at filtering out the water” explains Todd. “Before we started the project we had an in depth water quality discussion. I then took some time to show the students how the PASCO water quality sensor works. We tried a few different water samples as a class to view how the sensor reacted to different water samples. I then used the free water quality lab in SPARKvue (projected using a tablet and ScreenBeam) to discuss the specifics of how this particular water quality sensor works (i.e.: using electrical current etc..). Students proceeded on their STEM project, by planning and designing water filters from a given set of supplies. They could choose to use whatever they wanted. Supplies included cotton balls, coffee filters, paper cups, bowls, jay cloths, clothes-pins and paper, among other items. Water samples were obtained from a local pond, and made worse by adding salt and sand. We obtained a base reading for the water sample (~8350), and then each group tested their water filter to see whose filters did the best job of creating a cleaner water sample.”

Outcome

“The results were interesting, since samples after filter use were only marginally better than the original reading.” Todd and his students used these results to brainstorm on the likely reason for such outcomes. “The students discovered that salt is not filtered in this process and that it must be the salt which accounts for most of the poor water quality reading.” “Some samples actually made the reading increase. Students were again challenged to determine the possible reasons for such an outcome. They realized that some groups had used sand in their filters, and that the sand may have added other contaminants to the water.” “I would like to expand the project with further explorations,” says Todd. “Students could investigate ways to remove salt from water and could try those methods to see how that changes the reading on the sensor.” A ‘hands-on’ STEM challenge! River West Park Middle School, 30 Stack Street Winnipeg, MB

PASCO Products

  • Sparkvue Software PS-2400
  • Water Quality Sensor PS-2230

STEM Learning Must Go Beyond Memorizing Facts and Theories

Read Steven Korte’s article ‘STEM Learning Must Go Beyond Memorizing Facts and Theories‘ recently posted in ‘The Edvocate‘.  In this article, Steven Korte – PASCO Scientific’s CEO – offers 9 points to consider when a school or district implements a STEM program.

STEM

Access the full article here: http://www.theedadvocate.org/stem-learning-must-go-beyond-memorizing-facts-theories/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=email_this&utm_source=email

PASCO Wireless Sensors & SPARKVue – Changing the Way Teachers Teach Science

Capture“For science teachers who are looking to change their classroom practices and give their students more hands on experience, you need to consider using the latest wireless temperature sensors from PASCO. Using the PASCO Wireless Sensor technology will change the way you teach ….”

Read the entire review blog by Brian Friedlander from Assistive Tek LLC here: http://assistivetek.blogspot.com/2016/06/pasco-scientific-wireless-sensors.html

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  • A big thanks for all the help and support you provided – I want to take some time to say a big thanks for all the help and support you provided me to select the best equipment in order to make the best possible use of the funds available. It is really exceptional that you happily connected with me multiple times even during the weekend and was always motivated to help. Please accept my big thanks for this.

    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

    Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

  • Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

    Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

  • Your lab equipment is of the highest quality and technical support is always there to help. During the 25 years we have used a wide array of lab equipment including computer interfacing. Your Pasco line has a high profile in our lab and will continue to do so far into the future.

    Bob Chin | Lab Technician | Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, BC

  • Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

  • We have a large number of PASCO wireless spectrometers and love how they have improved the learning experience for our students.

    Shawn McFadden | Technical Specialist | Ryerson University | Toronto, Ontario

  • During distance learning due to COVID-19 school shut down, I was given a short window to collect what I could from my classroom to teach online. The PASCO wireless sensors and Smart Carts were my top priority to collect to implement distance learning. By sharing experimental data with students via SPARKVue, the sensors were pivotal in creating an online experience that still allowed students to grow with their lab skills. It was easy to record videos of the data collection and share the data with my students. They did a phenomenal job examining and interpreting the data.


    Michelle Brosseau | Physics Teacher | Ursuline College Chatham | Chatham, Ontario

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